Eleven ICE League Academic All-Stars earned $6,000 in scholarships Thursday, surrounded by their League teammates, coaches, fans, family, and friends at the fourth annual ICE League championship tournament.
The foundation of the innovative Inner City Educational League is academics. Students must maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA to fully participate and to be eligible for the season awards. The basketball championship tournament, with the semifinal round on Wednesday, March 21, and the finals on Thursday, March 22, at Muncie Central High School, was the culmination of a six-week season.
The ICE League mission is to utilize sports and other activities to connect students and their parents to positive educational, healthy living and career pathway opportunities.
“The culmination of the League again this year showed the improvement all teams made from the beginning to the end of the season,” said ICE League Commissioner Tom Lyon. “We went from blow-out games early in the season to very competitive championship games. And towards the end of the season, we had kids bumping up from one and two quarters to four quarters and that’s the premise of our League.”
8TH-GRADE SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS AWARD STUDENTS FOR ACADEMICS
After the championship games Thursday night, the eighth-grade ICE League players with the highest GPAs were awarded $6,000 total in scholarships, which will be held by ICE League partners until the students graduate from high school. The scholarships will then be dispersed directly to the college or university the students attend.
The eighth-grade 2018 ICE League Academic All-Stars for the girls teams are:
- Emily Adamowicz, YMCA, $667
- McKenzie Durbin, Buley Center, $667
- Makaiya Lowe, Buley Center, $667
- Ashleigh Shaffer, Ross Center, $500
- Garynn Sims-Jones, Boys & Girls Club, $500
The eighth-grade 2018 ICE League Academic All-Stars for the boys teams are:
- Isaac French, YMCA, $1,000
- Woody Elliott, Boys & Girls Club, $500
- Devin Foreman, Buley Center, $500
- Zach Rawlings, YMCA, $334
- Brennan Daily, Ross Center, $334
- Adam Combs, Ross Center, $334
6TH/7TH GRADE ACADEMIC ALL-STAR AWARDS
In addition, 6th- and 7th-grade players in both the boys and girls divisions who were named Academic All-Stars received recognition plaques.
Girls’ award winners:
- ZaNiah Barnes, Ross Center
- Karmesha Bradley, Buley Center
- Rene’e DeBoy, YMCA
- Layla Russell, Boys & Girls Club
- Charity Wright, YMCA
Boys’ award winners:
- Carter Fisher, Boys & Girls Club
- Aiden Franks, Buley Center
- Trenton French, YMCA
- William Huelsenbeck, Ross Center
- Bryce Karnes, Ross Center
RON BONHAM MVP AWARDS
One player from each division was named the Ron Bonham MVP for the season.
The award is named for Muncie Central Bearcat player Ron Bonham who played from 1958 through 1960 and is, arguably, considered Central’s greatest player. Bonham went on to play college basketball for the University of Cincinnati and was later drafted by the Boston Celtics, helping them win the NBA title his first year there. Bonham returned to live in Muncie and died last year.
The season MVP awards were voted on by League coaches. Players with 2.5 or higher GPA were eligible. The MVPs are:
- Emily Adamowicz, on the YMCA team, and Garynn Sims-Jones, on the Boys & Girls Club girls’ division teams.
- Princeton Young, on the Ross Center 6th/7th-grade boys’ division team.
- Isaac French, on the YMCA 8th-grade boys’ division team.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES – RESULTS
In the first title game of the night Thursday in the girls’ division, the YMCA team toppled the Boys & Girls Club team, 43-29. In the second championship game – the 6th/7th-grade boys’ division – the YMCA came away with a win again, defeating the Ross Center, 47-39. The final game of the night – the 8th-grade boys’ division – produced a three-game sweep for the YMCA, which defeated the Boys & Girls Club, 49-33.
YMCA Coach Jannai Smith led all three teams to championship wins Thursday, bringing the veteran ICE League coach’s total championship record wins to five since the League’s inception. She summed up this year’s winning secret recipe in two words: Good kids. “It shows how hard work pays off, and they all worked so hard,” she said.
Jannai calls the League design “genius.”
“When you take a sport and hold it over kids and tell them what their expectations are and you don’t lead them away from those expectations, this is what you get – winners,” said Jannai who emphasized the importance of pushing students not only academically but mentally as well. “Kids need more encouragement,” she said. “Don’t try to complicate it. It’s simple. I give expectations because I know they can do it.”
Project Leadership ICE League Coordinator Kaye Harrell applauded the community for coming together to offer an alterative to where the ICE League games have traditionally been played – in the Muncie Fieldhouse, which suffered damages last year. “Given the inability to use the Fieldhouse, we were fortunate to be able to use Southside during the regular season and Muncie Central for championship night,” Harrell said. “All players, coaches, and parents made the adjustments to make the League a big success again this year.”
ABOUT THE ICE LEAGUE
The ICE League is administered by Project Leadership and funded by the Ball Brothers Foundation. The League also is supported by Old National Bank/ Community Champions, Muncie Altrusa Foundation, and Friends of Muncie Endurathon. Partners include Muncie Community Schools and Burris Laboratory School as well as the four League centers – Boys & Girls Club, Buley Center, Ross Center and YMCA.
Project Leadership recognizes the importance of education and the vital role it plays in a community’s well-being. To that end, Project Leadership creates and accelerates Delaware County and regional initiatives and programs that promote educational attainment and degree completion. It strives to improve quality of life and the economic health of communities, ensuring low-income students achieve an education with value in the marketplace through college access/completion.
For more information, contact Project Leadership at 765-896-8616 or visit www.iceleague.org.